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Interview with Tyler Banham – running to be LPCO President

I’ve had the chance to have an interview with Tyler, the current Executive VP of the LPCO, who recently announced he will be running for the LPCO President position. That will be voted on by delegates Sept 12-14 in Markham (the same convention will also elect LPCO VP of Communications – which Jeff Jedras is running for and who I endorsed last week)

I was curious about this position, what it entails, and why someone would want to run for it, so I asked Tyler for an interview, which he agreed to. I submitted 5 questions to him, and his replies are below (Note: I am neutral in this race so far; I just saw an opportunity for an interview and asked, and Tyler was gracious enough to do this with me, and I thank him for doing so)

You may have already stated this when you announced your candidacy, but what made you decide you wanted to (or needed to) run for the LPCO President position?

In the days following our Federal Election defeat in May 2011, I was like many Federal Liberals. Demoralized. Upset. Unsure of the political future of our Party. After 20 years of being active in politics I contemplated taking a step back from politics to focus on my legal career at that point. Then I saw Bob Rae step up and energetically start to rebuild the Liberal Party in the days and weeks following our 2011 election defeat. I was amazed that rather than be disappointed in the result and look for another career path, Mr. Rae chose to re-double his efforts and do everything possible to rebuild the Party in 2011 and in 2012. Mr. Rae’s actions inspired me. I thought to myself, “now is not the time to recoil from politics, during our darkest hour as a Party, but rather we needed to all dig deep and redouble our efforts to rebuild the Liberal Party of Canada.”
That inspiration lead me to run for the position of Executive Vice President of LPC(O) in May 2012. Two years later, the work done by Mr. Rae and now by our incredible Federal Leader, Justin Trudeau, has inspired and fueled me to run for President of LPC(O) to continue building the Party, not just to be successful in 2015, but in 2019 and into the 2020’s. Combine my inspiration following the 2011 election to help turn the Party around and my 23 years experience in the Party and that motivated me to seek the Presidency of LPC(O).

I was interested to see the section in your “Vision 2020 – 20 ideas to modernize LPC(O)” platform about the CREATION OF AN LPC(O) SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVISTS COMMITTEE to deal with social media types (Liberal bloggers and others presumably included in that) and to give them more “resources and messaging required” to spread and help with the Liberal Party of Canada’s message. Can you expand on that a bit.. are we talking about things like conference calls with bloggers (as has been done in the past pre-2011, not so much since then)? And, are you also willing to take “input” from the netroots for any questions and concerns we might have about messaging or tactics?

I firmly believe that no one person has all the answers in politics. Same with managing LPC(O). We need to empower our members as effectively as possible. The creation of the LPC(O) Social Media Activists Committee is aimed at empowering our allies in the social media world to help disseminate messaging, engage in debate, and help promote the Liberal brand in all corners of the internet. The committee will hold conference calls from time to time to consult with active members of the social media world to gain their input and feedback and discuss how to best utilize the feedback we receive. The committee will also aim to best answer questions we receive from Liberal bloggers regarding concerns on messaging and strategies. As you know, the world of the internet constantly evolves and changes. Therefore, one of the goals of the committee is to also quickly identify new social media platforms that the Liberal Party should have a presence on and to advice LPC(O) how to best capitalize on spreading our message and help in recruitment through these new social media platforms.
Many people do not remember this but I once owned a political website creation company in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s with Tim Tierney, now a city councillor in Ottawa, that created websites for political organizations around Canada and in Europe. We trained many Liberal volunteers how to update their riding websites and how to capitalize on the new technology presented to us. It was that experience that lead me to commit to creating a Social Media Activists Committee so that we can increase LPC(O)’s social media imprint and influence.

You’ve got quite an extensive platform, but I’m wondering if there are any in here you feel will take more precedence then others: In otherwards, what part of your platform do you want to start immediately working on implementing on if elected, and what will be more down the road?

My “Vision 2020 – 20 ideas to modernize LPC(O)” platform will begin to be implemented almost immediately. The platform is aimed at empowering several members of the LPC(O) management committee to take on these projects and help implement them. I intend for the platform to be set in place immediately – we have no time to rest. Many of the projects will be easier to implement then others. Other commitments will take a lot of hope & hard work. I am most excited about my platform commitment on “Empowering Women”. I strongly believe that LPC(O) needs to be at the forefront of training more women volunteers to be on the ground organizers, campaign managers, fundraisers, and riding presidents – in addition to training women to be future Liberal candidates. Currently, we do not have many Riding Presidents who are women. That is a problem.
If we increase the number of women who are Riding Presidents, campaign managers, funrdraisers, and organizers in general inside the Federal Liberal Party then I am confident that LPC will have an easier time recruiting and electing women as Federal Liberal candidates for the General Election.
My empowering women platform commitment is one of the central reasons why I am running to be President of LPC(O) and it is my hope that at the end of my possible term as President that we double the size of the amount of women organizers we have in Ontario federally. In my opinion, the Liberal Party must increase the amount of women who are Riding Presidents, fundraisers, campaign managers, and organizers in general in order to be a successful, modern political movement in Canada.

A followup to that question: do you think its feasible or doable that everything you mentioned in your platform can get implemented by the end of your term?

Absolutely. Terms for LPC(O) office run from 24 months to 30 months. I would not have made these commitments without a timeline in mind for implementation. My Vision 2020 platform will be implemented by a team of Liberals, not just me. I should further add that my Vision 2020 platform is not an exhaustive list of commitments as LPC(O) must be flexible to deal with new challenges and concerns that emerge during our term.
I view my role as President as setting an agenda for our LPC(O) executive and members, ensuring the agenda is implemented, and monitoring the success of each platform commitment.

What would you say to undecided voters/delegates if they asked you why you felt you were best qualified to run for this position, or why do you think you can handle the tasks and duties of the LPCO president?

I believe that I am the best qualified candidate to be LPC(O)’s next President because of my all-around experience in the Liberal Party, my energy and passion for the Liberal Party, my availability to always get back to members, and because I will always be honest when dealing with Party members.
I feel that I have the experience necessary to take LPC(O) to the next level. Over 23 years in the Liberal Party, I have served as National Director of the Young Liberals of Canada, as campaign manager, as an organizer, as a fundraiser, as an assistant to Federal Cabinet Ministers, as an assistant to former Prime Ministers, as a Federal Liberal candidate, as a Federal Riding President, and recently as the Executive Vice President of LPC(O). Therefore, based on my wide range of experiences in LPC, I feel I can effectively lead the modernization of LPC(O). We need to do more to empower women in our Party – from training more women to be campaign managers, fundraisers, and riding presidents. We need to do more to ensure Young Liberals can attend and participate in LPC(O) activities. We need to do more in the field of election readiness. We need to do more to ensure our Riding Associations are properly equipped with the political tools to be successful on the ground. We need to do more to train our volunteers so that they can assist with community and cultural outreach initiatives and recruitment. To accomplish this job and to handle the duties of President, LPC(O) needs someone that has experience at every single level of the Liberal Party.

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